PINK PERSONALS

Vanda Playford

These portraits use fantasy and theatre to reveal aspects of contemporary gay culture in London.
I wanted to photograph a variety of women from different backgrounds rather than explore the values of particular subcultures. Each woman was asked to write a fantasy advert for the personal adverts section of the Pink Paper (a gay and lesbian weekly newspaper). They were asked to imagine that somebody had replied and that they had arranged to meet on a first date. They chose an outfit that had particular personal relevance and a venue at which to meet. At the venue they agreed to be photographed so that the camera was in the position of the unknown person they were about to meet. The adverts and photographs are to be exhibited next to each other. As photographed text the adverts become portraits in themselves.
In terms of portraiture the intention was to create a dynamic between the subject and me, as artist, so that we were able to forget the camera and concentrate on creating a moment of fantasy. When looking at this moment of fantasy the viewer is returning the gaze of the subject whose desire is for a woman.

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